Oral Histories

Bill Meador

b.1933

Bill Meador

Q: During your time as superintendent, you worked with various school boards, I’m sure. Did you have basically a good relationship? Any problems along the way, major glitches? 

A: I think I was very fortunate in the fact that, living in Moab, we had balanced boards. When I’m saying balanced, that’s politically, religious background, etc. We really did have some awfully strong boards that understood the role of being policy makers as opposed to administrators. I never had a board that tried to be the administrator. Good policy boards. Some were stronger than others. And just some very good people that wanted the very best for the kids. I think I was extremely fortunate. I know I listened to horror stories told by superintendents of the pettiness of boards. It could be really bad. I was extremely fortunate during my tenure to work with some very good boards.

Q: During this time, were you involved with politics, clubs, other things around town, or was that pretty much the job.

A: The superintendency is extremely time consuming. I spent a lot of time at evening meetings, on the telephone at my home, those kinds of things. I did belong to Rotary. I belonged to Elks for a while and said that’s one more than I can keep up with. The nature of the job says to you, “Stay out of politics.” You have to be someone in a neutral enough position that you can meet with and relate to whomever. In a small town also, your social life is very restricted. It was easier for Lyn and me to stay home than to go and listen to someone complain about Mrs. Brown’s history class. And so, it was just a lot easier to get a good book.

Q: Are you active in church?

A: No, I’m not, but Lyn is very active. My very background… my grandfather was a hard-shelled Baptist from Arkansas and helped start the Baptist Church in Moab. So we had that division in my home life. My father, later in life, joined the LDS church and married Mother in the Temple, but church didn’t take well with me. I’ve never been active. I was baptized but never been active in the LDS church.

Q: When did you retire? 

A: I retired in 1988.

Q: And since then, you’ve had a lot of fun?

A: Yes, I have. I’ve traveled. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my retirement. We stay very busy, and we have lots of different kinds of things we like to do. I play a great deal of golf.

Q: When did you get into golf?

A: I’ve played golf since my college days. But I really didn’t have time to play it like I can now. It’s too bad I’m too old to play it well, but I play a lot of golf. We travel to see our grandkids and spend time with our kids, all of them. We especially enjoy our grandkids; they have been a real delight.

Q: In addition to the museum board, you are on the golf club board?

A: The Golf Club Board of Directors. I’ve been on that for about seven years, maybe eight. 

Q: So you were there when they expanded?

A: No, I came on after they opened the additional nine holes, probably about the middle 90s. I can’t remember for sure, in 1995, that area.

Q: Do you enjoy that?

A: Yes, I do. Because there are lots of opportunities to do something, and I enjoy the camaraderie and exchange of ideas.

Q: There are some things I’d like to specifically go over. This is part of the Boom Times questionnaire we are doing for this particular group of oral histories. Since you were already living in Moab, what I’d like to talk about are your jobs and or your parents’ jobs before the boom. You said that your dad was into real estate and this was very much impacted by the boom. You were still in the service then?

A: Yes, I left here in May of 1951. (Charlie’s discovery was in 1952-3) However, I knew about that and how it impacted Moab. Moab was a community of 900 people when I left. When I came back from Korea, it was a community of about 8,000 people. It was an entirely different community. I didn’t know anybody. When I left here, I knew everybody and everybody’s kids and who they were related to. I was the only person in town who wasn’t related to everybody in town. When I left here, the jobs I would get were service stations, picking peaches, those kinds of jobs available to a kid in summertime. When I came back there were all kinds of jobs. I was discharged and five days later I had a job with Moab Drilling. I’d never been on a drilling rig in my life. But there were jobs. When they built the Atlas mill, the guys that came home from World War II suddenly had a payroll outside of the family business. Those were the immediate impacts. Plus the face of the community was changing. There were new buildings; there was sprawl and squalor, a trailer behind every tree. It wasn’t all good in that respect. There was purpose and there was money. And I’ve always said that one of the strongest things that happened during the uranium boom was the leadership that came with the big companies, the presidents of those companies, the vision they had, the money they had, not only the payrolls that they provided but the health insurance programs, the recreation programs, just the leadership that went in from their companies and their presence. I think it was of tremendous value during the uranium era. The Potash and all of those kinds of developments, there were a lot of those people who were highly educated, highly skilled, and people oriented. It was great for Moab.

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